Questions to Ask

Yes — the program stopped accepting applications on August 8, 2020, but the December stimulus package has since granted $284 billion for a third round of funding that will last until March.

The SBA released overviews of PPP loan distributions at the state and industry level since mid-April, and it shared a list of all approved loans in early July. But it did not reveal the exact amounts loaned to businesses that received $150,000 or more, nor the names of those who received less than $150,000 until early December. This latest loan-level dataset does not fully account for the totals reported in the final SBA overview report, lacking information on 55,300 loans representing almost $2.1 billion. However, the SBA overview report and the loan-level data together provide the fullest picture yet of how the program operated through August, when it first ended.

Get cleaned and summarized versions of the data: Loans summarized by state and industry. All information on loans valued at $10 billion, the maximum amount permitted.

The program approved 5.2 million loans worth $525 billion through August 8.

The SBA reported that the $521 billion loaned as of June 30 supported 51.1 million jobs or as much as 84% of small business employees. A separate survey conducted by the US Census Bureau in the second week of December found that 73% of responding businesses had received a PPP loan.

Most loans through August were small: 67% of them were under $50,000. However, 609 businesses received the maximum loan amount of $10 million. Though just 1.6% of loans were $1 million or more, these large loans accounted for 34% of total dollars distributed. The median loan size was $23,000 and the mean was $101,000.

The starts and stops of the program affected the flow of loan approval through June. The bulk of approvals — especially of larger loans — happened in April and the beginning of May, with 78% of total loans and 93% of total dollars approved before May 10.

The program started on April 3 with $349 billion in funding from the CARES Act. A wave of applications exhausted its resources by April 16, closing the first round. Congress reopened the program on April 27 with an additional $310 billion, and loan approvals spiked again — in line with reports of a backlog of unapproved applications from the first round. After that, approvals for the second round of funding slowed.

According to the loan-level data, 747,000 additional PPP loans received approval in June, July, and August. They made up 14% of all loans approved but only 4% of dollars, indicating that the loans were also smaller. The application deadline for the second round was August 8.

In December, Congress allocated $284 billion for a third round of PPP and extended the program through March.

The SBA overview report shows that Washington, DC and North Dakota received the most loan dollars per capita as of August. However, Florida and California — two states with fewer approved loan dollars per capita in round one — received more in second-round PPP loans. The loan-level data shows varied distribution at the county and city levels as well. Of the nation’s 30 most populous cities, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Portland received the most loan money per capita.  Detroit and El Paso, Texas, two cities with low proportions of white, non-Hispanic residents, received the fewest loan dollars per capita. (Read more coverage of geographic distribution compared to race, job loss, and COVID-19.)

The loan-level data identifies detailed professions for all loan recipients, revealing that full-service restaurants, doctors, lawyers, and new car dealers received the most money — over $10 billion each.

The SBA overview report also compares industry distribution as a share of total loan dollars. At 12.9% of dollars distributed, healthcare and social assistance industries received the most, followed by professional, scientific, and technical services (12.7%), construction (12.4%), and manufacturing (10.3%).

The program is designed to support up to eight weeks of continued payroll, and many loans covered two months or more of average pre-pandemic expenses per employee. But certain higher-paying industries, like finance or sports and the performing arts, averaged just four or five weeks of normal payroll. (Read more on loans by industry and profession compared to jobs retained and average payroll expenses.)

Individual banks financed PPP loans and must be repaid by either the SBA, if the loan is forgiven, or the recipient business, if it is not. As of November 22, the SBA reported that around 595,000 recipients had applied for loan forgiveness. The agency has forgiven and completed payments for 367,000 of them. That represents $38 billion in loans forgiven so far.


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